In the world of pop books, a world i know nothing about, I am happily far less judgmental than I normally would be. I liked this book over all. but akhtar did do a lot of telling. he used a lot of adverbs as well, which i'm not used to. he also made all-or-nothing characters, which creates a good versus evil quality that kind of mirrors the quran. Hayat, which is a great name, is about the most innocent kid i've ever encountered. how can he watch any tv and know nothing about sex, development, or critical thinking, especially with parents like his? And finally, the subplot here involves the broken marriage between Hayat's parents and hayat's experience of that. But the end just leaves that subplot alone, which is not very gratifying. Nonetheless, i liked the story. i liked the passages from the quran. i liked the scene at the mosque and nathan's endearing attempt to assimilate. i like hayat's consistent ambivalence with respect to everything, mina, imran, his dad, the quran. i like the food.